Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
critic: Andrew SAUNDERS.
suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.
Davide SCIALÒ: The design of a new façade for the building in which is located the Issey Miyake Pleats Please store was a way to speculate on the architectural consequences of a research on the sartorial tectonics we made during Andrew Sanders’s class.
We focused our research on the increasing relevance of surface as a primary vehicle for architecture to engage contemporary society, coupled with the rapid evolution of customizable computation and fabrication parallels in fashion and architecture.
The main essay turned out was the difference between “dressing” and “dressing-up”. These can be defined as two (historically) different approaches that every kind of designers can take. Even if both approaches are mostly related to aesthetic values, the first (:dressing) is a research on the beauty which works on the structure in itself in order to get attractiveness, while the latter (:dressing-up) loses coherence with the structure of the design by finding beauty on the decoration, like adding new elements (not essential to the structure) in order to get attractiveness.
The five floor building we worked on was located at the corner of 128 Wooster Street, NY in SoHO and we assumed that it needed to be aesthetically revitalized by a new façade.
The approach I took was to avoid altering the existing structure and giving the possibility to the next generations to return at the original status of the building. So I decided just to add new elements to the current façade by dressing up it with a new skin.
I practiced the skills I got in Andrew Saunders’ seminar, with experimentation in nCloth (Maya) and tailoring techniques, in order to get an organic appearance for the new façade. It is thought as a composed skin by panels and, how you can see from the rendered view, it has different state of deepness according to the distance to the ground floor. This is a strategy to give more emphasis to the floors people walking on the street can see and giving lightness to the floors which approach the sky. It could be also seen like the consequence the gravity has on the façade, which, like a gelatinous material, is pressed by its own weight.
sP: What or who influenced this project?:
DS: Before the final project, we read many articles on the textile and on the influence that it had to the more rigid tectonic style. For Sure one of the most influential people on this filed was Miguel Fisac. In the 1970’s Miguel used thin plastic sheets as formwork for textured wall panels. The result that the weight of this soft material gives to the concrete when poured is really effective; the concrete takes on the texture of the material, in a tactile way. This allowed Fisac the freedom to create various types of facade panel giving each building a specific look and feel.
sP: What were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?:
DS: Andrew Saunders gave us a couple of reading about architecture in relation with textile. I can say that the most stimulating theorization of this essay could be attributed to the nineteenth century German architect, Gottfried Semper. To him is due the concept of dressing and dressing up.
sP: Whose work is currently on your radar?:
DS: I’m really interesting on the work of architects and so it’s difficult for me saying some names, but currently I’m following some young designers like: Ezio Blasetti (Athens), Iris van Herpen (The Netherlands), and Marc Fornes (France).